Sunday 21 July 2019

'I didn't apologise to Colm for anything I said' - Joe Brolly responds to Colm Cooper's Late Late comments Sportsdesk

Sunday Independent columnist Joe Brolly has responded to former Kerry intercounty player Colm Cooper after the Dr. Crokes forward fired back at Brolly on The Late Late Show for his testimonial dinner criticisms.

A number of GAA commentators have criticised the Gooch for holding such an event with Brolly accusing Cooper of enriching himself at the expense of the ideals of the GAA.

"It is a great pity Colm has done this. The point of the GAA is supposed to be volunteerism and community activism. The question is supposed to be, 'What can I do?', not 'What can I get out of it?'," he wrote recently.

"As an icon of Irish sport, he could have set an example of altruism, but instead has chosen to enrich himself. What could and should have been a night the GAA could have taken great pride in, has instead become something cheap and self-serving."

Cooper defended his right to become the first GAA player to have a testimonial dinner with the event set to take place on October 27 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge. A table of 10 has been priced at €5,000 and 50 tables are expected to be filled, raising up to €250,000.

In response, Cooper told Ryan Tubridy on Friday: "We all know that Joe Brolly is the greatest player ever so how could we challenge him on that?

"On a serious note, Joe actually sent me a text this week to say sorry about all the fuss and he wishes there wasn't the reaction that there was and that it's gone overboard and he's apologising for it.

"He's obviously changed his tune and he fully respects that I'm fully entitled to have a testimonial night if I want.

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"There's players, dinner dances, speaking after events, there are brand ambassadors, there are players doing launches all the time. Unfortunately for the GAA, there are players earning money so if that's the argument I don't really get it.

"It's going to be a great night. We have over 450 people confirmed. There are people coming from America and the UK. It's going to be a successful night and it could be the first of many. Who knows, this could be a new trend.

"Whether you're for or against it, it's going to be a celebration of sport. I'm delighted with my career and I'm honoured to be having it."

Reacting to Cooper's response, Brolly said that he has never apologised to Cooper for his criticism and that he stands by what he said.

"I didn't apologise to Colm for anything I said," tweeted Brolly.

"I stand by every word. I said I didn't intend him to be demonised as a result.

"This is a serious principled debate. I said face to face to Colm he was wrong in doing this. I stand by that absolutely."

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